Solidarity among workers in Canadian art institutions

OTTAWA, Oct. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Despite 11 lay-offs at the National Gallery of Canada and more lay-offs expected in the near future, PSAC members at the Gallery expressed their solidarity for other workers. Today, they gave $1,000 to their sisters and brothers on strike at the Museum of Civilization and the War Museum.

PSAC members at the National Gallery and their supporters gathered at noon under the giant spider at the NGC and crossed the Ottawa River to bring financial and moral support to their sisters and brothers.

Philippe Carpentier, President of the PSAC Local at the National Gallery, explained that the Union filed grievances against the unjustified lay-offs announced by the Gallery.

"The recent announcements by the Gallery would deprive Canadians of services they have come to rely on when they visit the Gallery," Carpentier said. "We'll do everything we can to provide Canadians with the services they are entitled to," Carpentier added.

Carpentier also indicated that the union will challenge the proposed contracting out of the Gallery's bookstore and the subsequent loss of both quality public service jobs and revenue for the Gallery. According to Carpentier, the PSAC collective agreement at the NGC contains language preventing the employer from giving to a third party work that should normally be done within the PSAC bargaining unit.

For Maria Fitzpatrick, the Regional Executive Vice-President for the PSAC in the National Capital Region, the labour struggle against the management of art institutions and the Conservative government will only strengthen the workers' resolve.

"We have two strong and determined PSAC Locals at the Museum of Civilization and the National Gallery," Fitzpatrick said. "The collective solidarity of the workers is essential to help those cultural institutions fulfil their important cultural and socio-economic role in the national capital and in the country," she added.

The current collective agreement between PSAC and the National Gallery of Canada will expire in June 2010. Fitzpatrick indicated that the workers are actively preparing for the next round of negotiations and are determined to introduce a "no lay-off" clause in the next contract.


For further information: For further information: To arrange interviews, please contact Alain Cossette, PSAC Communications, (613) 293-9210

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